Friday, October 24, 2014

3:00-6:00 pm
Intensives – Additional Fee Required

This year we’re offering two additional add-ons for conference attendees only. Attendees will receive registration info via email. Intensives are not included with Regular Registration; an additional fee and separate admission is required to attend intensives.

Writing In The Sheets: A Sex-Writing Intensive with Patricia Ann McNair

Time to let your characters do what comes natural? Not sure how to get it on (pun intended) the page? Join us for a sex writing intensive workshop. We’ll be doing it together and seeing how to do it best. (Talking about writing here. What did you think?) Expect writing activities, literary models, non-threatening peer response, and a lot of laughs.

Writing is the Easy Part: A Crash Course in Self-Publishing with Cadence Group founder Bethany Brown

An in-depth look at the many moving parts that must come together to self-publish a market-ready, competitive book. From the book “pieces”; to the many bring-to-market options (POD vs traditional distribution); to getting your self-published book noticed, this workshop is perfect for any author thinking about self-publishing.

6:30-8:00 pm
Kickoff Party

Meet and mingle with your fellow conference-goers; join us for a drink and some pre-conference socializing and fun.

Location TBA.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

8:15-8:45 am
Check In

The Power of Writing
Mare Swallow, Executive Director
Mare welcomes you to the conference and shares the tangible impact of writing.


Social Media for the Internet-Challenged Writer
Ankur Thakkar, Author, Editor and Digital Director

Learn how to promote your work, build an online community, and market your work through social media. Ankur will also share creative work by popular writers created exclusively on and for social media, 140 characters at a time.

Writing for the Stage and the Screen

Hear from screenwriter and professor Michael Fry and playwright Bilal Dardai about writing for visual media, and how they broke into their respective careers. Moderated by author Robert K. Elder.

Painless & Fun Book Marketing Tactics for Self-Published Authors
Paula Krapf, Marketing Expert

Don’t put all of your energy and creativity into social media marketing – there are other ways to gain exposure for you and your book. Discover innovative methods to market your book, and have fun connecting with your readers and fans! Be original and set yourself apart from your competition with your marketing.


I Can Hear it in Your (Narrative) Voice
Christine Sneed, Author, Little Known Facts

Award-winning author Christine Sneed discusses aspects of narrative voice and how voice is intimately connected to a story’s tone and point of view. Christine will examine passages from published stories with memorable narrative voices.

This Publicity Workshop Will Change Your Life
Ben Tanzer, Author and Editor

You need to somehow rise above the literary clutter, if only for a moment, but how do you do that? It involves self-absorption, saturation, compulsion, and repetition. It also involves attending this interactive workshop and exploring the ins and outs of publicity in the age of social media.

How to Muddle, Stomp, and Conquer Your Way Through Self-Publishing
Clayton Smith, Author, Apocalypticon

Hear lesson’s from Clayton’s self-publishing journey: What worked, what didn’t, and what went horribly wrong — and what went wonderfully right. He bravely made dozens of mistakes so you don’t have to, and he’ll draw from his own crazy-but-successful experience to give you the tools you need to produce a professional-grade book and help combat the accursed affliction of Bookseller’s Infinite Eye Roll. (It’s a thing.)


Breaking Into (and Getting Paid for) Writing Online
Editors Tasha Robinson (The Dissolve) and Chuck Sudo (Chicagoist) share their tales from the trenches and tips for getting published online. Hear what works, what doesn’t, and what editors look for when hiring writers. This isn’t about writing for content farms; this is about writing for online publications that actually pay. Moderated by Author Robert K. Elder.

Stranger than Fiction: Writing from Real Life

Hear from authors Kathleen Rooney (O, Democracy!), Gina Frangello (A Life in Men), and Rebecca Makkai (The Hundred-Year House) as they discuss their endeavors, and how each drew on real-life experiences in crafting their fiction.

Get Your Work Publisher-Ready: How Working with an Editor Will Improve Your Writing
Kelli Christiansen, Editor

What does it take to get published? Good luck and good timing have a lot to do with it—but so do good ideas, good writing, and good editing. In short: a good manuscript. We examine how the right editing—and the right editor—for your manuscript can improve your chances of getting published.

12:00-1:00 pm
On Your Own


Behind the Scenes in Publishing

Successfully Submit to Literary Magazines


Fifty Shades of Publishing: All the Ways to Publish a Winning Book
April Eberhardt, Literary Agent

Literary Change Agent and author advocate April Eberhardt takes an innovative approach: Encouraging authors to consider all methods of publishing their work, ranging from traditional to self publishing, with hybrid options in between. What are the pros and cons of traditional vs. independent publishing? What is partnership publishing, and why is it so popular? What does hybrid publishing mean? How do you decide which route is best for you? Come learn about how the industry is changing, and how to devise a strategy that suits your goals, dreams, timetable and budget.

The Art of the Revision: The End is Just the Beginning
Samantha Hoffman, Author

Roald Dahl said, “Good writing is essentially rewriting.”  Everything we write, everything, needs revision. It would be wonderful if we could sit down to write a novel, move from opening to conclusion, type “The End,” and end up with a masterpiece. It didn’t happen that way for Samantha, and it won’t happen for you. From first draft as the foundation, to flow, to paring it down, Samantha shows you what to look for when revising your own work.


Writing Genre Fiction
Loretta Nyhan, Elizabeth Blackwell, Authors

Seven Ways to Get Your Site in Shape
Lisa Hazen, Web Designer

Before starting a Web design business, Lisa worked in publishing for 15 years. She will show how smart publishing and good Web design needn’t be mutually exclusive by sharing seven essential—and attainable–qualities every author website should have.


Closing Conversation: Sara Paretsky on Writing
Writer Noah Cruickshank discusses writing and career with best-selling author Sara Paretsky.

Chicago Writers, Chicago Readers

Reading and Cocktail Party
Brando’s Speakeasy – 343 S. Dearborn

Sunday, October 26, 2014

9:00-9:50 am

Pitchfest Premium - Additional Fee Required

Details will be emailed to conference registrants. Pitchfest tickets will be available to registered conference attendees only. Tickets for Pitchfest will be made available to registered attendees after Regular Registration closes on October 10. Pitchfest is not included with regular registration; separate admission is required and will be made available after Oct. 10.

Ask The Agents
Literary Agents Marcy Posner, Danielle Egan-Miller, Joanna MacKenzie, Elizabeth Evans, and April Eberhardt share their insights from the world of publishing. Learn the dos and don’ts of approaching an agent, why you need an agent, and how to work well with your agent, once you land one.


Steps to Successful Freelancing
Glenn Jeffers, Editor

Ask the Publishers
Editors Kate DeVivo (Agate Publishing), Ian Morris (Fifth Star Press), Naomi Huffman (Curbside Splendor) and Michael Levine (Northwestern University Press) share their insights and the “dos” and “don’ts” of working with a publisher. Moderated by Keir Graff (Booklist).

12:00-1:00 pm
On Your Own


Beyond Google: Researching Non-Fiction
A conversation with Audrey Petty, award-winning author of High Rise Stories, and Lee Sandlin, author of Storm Kings. Hear about their methods and preferences for researching non-fiction; and what to do when you end up with some not-so-useable material.

Writing for the Younger Crowd
A conversation with children’s author Allan Woodrow and YA Author Erica O’Rourke


This Happens, Which Causes This to Happen, Which Causes This to Happen, and So On… Developing Cohesive Plot and Story
Eric Charles May, Author, Bedrock Faith

In fiction, ideally, by the time we get to the final drafts of a manuscript, with every scene there should be a direct cause and effect between the scene and what it causes to happen (or not happen) in the story. Eric Charles May tells you how utilizing causality has served him well.

Personal Finance for Writers
David Turrentine, Accountant

Closing Conversation & Performance: The Q Brothers